Her Dream & Her Passion
Jennifer Bows and her nine-year-old daughter Wynter are fighting an uphill battle. Jennifer, whose been in recovery for five years, wants to open a sober living home in Sagamore Beach, Massachusetts.
The only problem? She doesn’t have the upfront money needed to buy a house and start helping women. So, the scrappy Jennifer and her precocious daughter have turned to crowdfunding in an attempt to secure financing.
So far, things aren’t going great. Around a month into the campaign and the two have raised $180 of the $100,000 needed to buy a home (which, by the way, is a tiny investment in Cape Cod real estate).
Read on to learn what sets Jennifer’s proposed program apart and to explore the ethics of crowdfunding an addiction recovery program!
What Makes Jennifer’s Program Different?
Jennifer Bow’s idea is to create a sober living home – commonly called a halfway house – for young women between 18 and 25 years old.
Sounds pretty standard, right? There are a ton of those across the country. So what makes Jennifer’s home different?
Well, she wants to do more than simply provide a place for addicts in early-recovery to rest their heads at night. She wants to create a program that will help women transition back to life.
To accomplish this, Jennifer is using her experience as a licensed drug and alcohol counselor as well as her years in recovery.
Some of the requirements she has in mind include making sure residents hold a job, are in school, or become involved with community service, have mandatory on-site therapy, and focus on the twelve-steps as an avenue of recovery.
According to Wynter, who was interviewed in a local Cape Cod newspaper, “She’s going to have some structure…She’s going to have meetings and get people back into reality” (Capenews.net)
According to Jennifer herself,
“I would like to purchase a home so I can open a 12 step sober home for women ages 18 to 25. I want to offer a place for young women to go after treatment, where I can give them structure and support so they will stay clean and sober and be successful and productive in society” (excerpted from Jennifer’s Go Fund Me page).
So far so good, right? It looks like Jennifer and her daughter are trying hard to raise money for a great cause. We certainly support their efforts and encourage you to check out their Go Fund Me page!
Still, her story raises an interesting question – is it ethical to crowdsource money for addiction treatment programs?
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Is it Ethical to Crowdfund Recovery Services?
Well, is it? There’s no doubt in my mind that Jennifer’s primary focus is on helping others. That’s one of the great gifts of recovery – we stop focusing so much on ourselves and turn our attention to helping other people.
Still, $100,000 is a lot of money. It really is a steal for Cape Cod real estate, but it’s a lot for people to donate. Not to mention that once her sober living facility is up and running – it has the potential to generate large amounts of personal income.
So, is it ethical for Jennifer to turn to crowdfunding to raise the money needed to start her program? Is it ethical for anyone to crowdsource money for addiction programs?
I think the answer lies in the individual’s motives. If someone is looking to fund their addiction treatment program just so they can make a buck – it’s not ethical. If someone is looking to fund their addiction treatment program so they can help others – it’s ethical.
That distinction, however, often falls into gray area. The Lighthouse Recovery Institute blog is a great example! Our primary purpose with this blog is to inform and education people about what addiction and recovery are really like. Still, it’s also generates phone calls to our facility.
Is that the primary purpose of these articles (including the one you’re reading right now)? Not at all – the primary purpose will always be education and empowerment. Does it play some part? Certainly.
And that’s the reality for just about every addiction treatment program across the country. We offer helpful services – we save lives – but not without some interest in our financial health. That’s the world of business.
Anyway, we’ve wandered off on a tangent here. The question remains, is it ethical to crowdfund a sober living home? It all depends on the individual case. In Jennifer and Wynter’s case – absolutely!